How to support your local food system before the end of the year

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LAST UPDATED: December 7th, 2020

With the final days of farmer’s market shopping behind us, it may seem as if the season of buying local has come and gone with it. Fortunately, there are a multitude of ways you can support local businesses and your local food system throughout the entire holiday season. Want to learn more about how to do this? Here are a few simple tips.

1. Buy local, eat Local

Make local food a priority this season! One of the few blessings that came about from COVID-19 is that many local gardens and farms have transitioned to online ordering systems – Making local food much more accessible and buying much more simple. Check out the Dogpatch Urban Garden online store for tons of locally grown products and their featured local holiday gift sets! You can also follow the Iowa Food CoOp to stay up to date on the latest with their Winter Season Market and their upcoming Holiday Pop-Up Shop on Thursday, December 10th. Locally produced and handcrafted goods will be available for sale. 

2. Support Eat Greater Des Moines

According to the USDA Household Food Insecurity Report, about 9% of Iowa households are food insecure. Food Insecurity is defined by a lack of resources to provide adequate nutrition for one or more individuals in a home. During the holiday season, this is often exacerbated. Holiday breaks from school often add extra stress to a family’s grocery budget. Eat Greater Des Moines is working throughout this holiday season to connect organizations that serve families all over Central Iowa with the food that they need. Join EGDM in these efforts by signing up to volunteer for Operation Fresh Produce Drop! This initiative helps get fresh food boxes to our community partners, including non-profits, community groups, churches, schools, affordable housing communities, and more. Unable to volunteer? Become a monthly EGDM Donor. Donations help us continue Operation Fresh Produce Drop, in addition to our food rescue efforts. Between these initiatives, Eat Greater Des Moines has moved 1,091,804 pounds of food this year alone!

3. Reduce your holiday food waste

On average, an estimated 40% of all food produced is thrown away and wasted. Our Drake Engaged Citizen Student, DJ, said in her most recent blog, “Food wastage existing in a land of food insecurity feels like something far removed from our Midwestern mindset—in fact, the idea of hunger in and of itself seems almost incomprehensible in one of the wealthiest countries in the world.” The reality is, our world and our Central Iowa community, is victim of the excess but insufficient paradigm – Learn more about this by reading DJ’s blog. During the holidays, household food waste increases even more. According to the National Resources Defense Council, 200 million pounds of turkey is thrown out each Thanksgiving. Due to COVID-19, meals may be much smaller this year, but the holiday’s environmental impact is likely to persist. With the absence of large family gatherings, it is easy to overproduce. Before grocery shopping, take note of what you already have at home and when at the store, make sure to buy only what you need. Check out this article from the New York Times to learn more about how to reduce your food waste this holiday season.

To stay connected to what’s going on in your local food system and at Eat Greater Des Moines, sign up for our monthly newsletter

Emma Gellerstedt

Emma Gellerstedt

Eat Greater Des Moines Intern